Fall 2009 Issue

SATELLITES

ARISS International “Face-to-Face” Meeting and New “Birds”

By Keith Pugh, W5IU

Flags showing the partner nations of the European Space Agency (ESA). (Photos courtesy of W5IU)

 

In my last column in the Summer 2009 issue of CQ VHF I mentioned that I had attended the ARISS International “Face-to-Face” meeting in the Netherlands. This column provides a summary of that meeting and the trip associated with it.

Several new amateur radio satellites have been launched recently. I will introduce some of these satellites and go over the process of integrating them into the active satellite inventory.

ARISS International “Face-to-Face Meeting”

Host for the meeting was the European Space Agency (ESA) at the European Space Research and Technology Center (ESTEC) located in Noordwijk in The Netherlands. June 17–19, 2009 was a little late to see the tulips at their peak, but we had a productive series of meetings and an enjoyable time was had by all. This was my first visit to The Netherlands. A summary of the meetings follows. Detailed minutes are available at: <http://www.ariss.org>.

Activities started on Wednesday, June 17, with a Joint Amateur Radio Working Group (ARWG) and Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) meeting for delegates. Gaston Bertels, ON4WF, welcomed all attendees and asked participants to introduce themselves to the group.

Topics discussed during this session were: new VHF-UHF antennas for the Columbus Module, onboard equipment available for use, handling of potential interference issues when more than one station is available for use, equipment deployment planning, and Russian telemetry tests.

In the afternoon participants were treated to a tour of the excellent ESTEC equipment qualification facilities. These facilities are used to test equipment of all kinds and sizes for the rigors of space travel. Thermal, vacuum, vibration, acoustic noise, radiation, and shock head the list of tests that are performed. The facilities are “state of the art” in most cases. After the tour of the test facilities, participants visited the Erasmus High Bay exhibit area—in which visitors, potential users, and researchers can familiarize themselves with the various experiment facilities—and met some of the ESA astronauts.

After an excellent welcome dinner, an evening session was convened to hear presentations by the Italian delegation on two topics. A “hybrid” ARISS QSO combining telebridge and direct techniques into one contact to extend time availability was the first topic. An initial proposal for an event in honor of Marconi receiving the Nobel Prize was the second topic.

Thursday, June 18, was the first day of the ARISS-International Annual Meeting. In attendance there were 23 attendees representing 11 countries. After a welcome by Mr. Piero Messina—Head of the Coordination Office, ESA Directorate of Human Spaceflight, European Space Agency—Gaston Bertels, ON4WF, again welcomed the delegates and team members. A moment of silence was observed in memory of Dieter Schliemann, KX4Y, who recently became a silent key.

Officers were elected to a one-year term to fill the vacancy created when Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, resigned earlier this year. Gaston Bertels became Chairman and Will Marchant became Vice Chairman. Elections for the normal two-year term will take place in 2010.
ARISS reports were heard from Europe, Canada, USA, Russia, and Japan. These delegate reports were followed by reports from the Operations and Hardware committees.

 

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